Monday, April 30, 2018

Trans-American Cyclists: Naomi and Maya

This weekend we hosted, with great delight, two trans-American cyclists, Naomi (from Maryland) and Maya (from Lexington, Virginia).

I met them along Blacksburg Road, where I was doing the ride part of a brick workout. I ride there almost weekly and it's part of a popular coast-to-coast route for cyclists. I saw quite a few riders with the telltale panniers.

These two riders were pulled up on the side of the road so I stopped and asked if they needed anything. It turned out Maya's knee was bothering her so they were looking for a place to camp in Blacksburg. I offered our home - we have tons of room. And given ALL the times we have the kids' friends over, it was my turn!

I gave them the address, and called ahead to let my kids know.

I finished my workout and returned home to find their bikes in the garage. I was happy they had made it safely!

I was intrigued to learn more about these two and their journey.

They are both just a few years out from their undergraduate years at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Naomi graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering and is beginning medical school at George Washington in August (she JUST got her acceptance the day prior - yay!). Maya has been working as a chemical engineer. They've been talking about this journey for a few years and decided this summer was the time to do it. Maya got a leave of absence from work, and here they are!

Spencer brought food home. Maya iced her knee. We all refueled and the pair napped, woke briefly, then went to bed early. They were going to take a rest day the following day. I convinced them to stay at our house and we made plans for them to get to our LBS, East Coasters, for some help with bike fit. They needed more comfortable positions for the long journey - which would also reduce injury risk.

They had 12 hours of sleep and a good breakfast, then we loaded up the bikes (it was a rest day). I took them on a short driving tour of campus and the town and then dropped them at the bike shop. They were in good hands with Nate at East Coasters (thank you so much!!).

Naomi, who had been having shoulder issues, got a much shorter stem and some recommendations for riding more comfortably. Maya got a new saddle to better support her seat bones and her seat was raised.

Then they rode to Gillies for lunch and enjoyed the nice descent down Harding to our house!

After one more night of sleep, they left this morning, off again on their journey to the Oregon coast.

I hope this brief stop-off will, in a small way, contribute to their success. They are quietly, humbly courageous and I have every reason to believe they will be successful. I reminded Maya - it's one pedal stroke, one mile, one day at a time. I'm definitely rooting for them!!

I'm so happy I crossed paths with these two.

If you'd like to follow their adventure, they are on Instagram @twotired.

Monday, April 2, 2018

OH. So that's what I signed up for.

Last April I did the USAT Long Course Duathlon Nationals in nearby Cary, NC. I did it because it wasn't far away and it was something different. It was my first duathlon.

There wasn't much "long course" about it with a 5 mile run, 31 mile bike, and 5 mile run. It was a small field (I think we had two waves), had a local race feel (less than 200 people in the race), and I won my age group, out of 9 people. It was very laid back.

Our little race kind of flew under the radar.

I noticed later in the season - in June - there was a much bigger USAT Duathlon Nationals in Bend Oregon that got a lot of press.

Fast forward to this year.

I see something that says USAT and Duathlon and Nationals, again in April, a little further south in Greenville, SC. I figure it's basically the same race that I did.

So I signed up.

The race is this coming weekend. Yesterday I finally took a few minutes to look at the race website. My first clue that it's not the same race is that I see an official Pre-Race webinar and full Athlete Guide. I see they are closing the roads for the race. Then I realize over 1000 people are expected for the three races. This year there is just ONE Duathlon Nationals and this is it.

It's the biggie!

It is attracting top athletes from across the country. There are 28 in my age group for Standard Distance Non-Drafting coming from Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Among them are names I see routinely on the podium at Age Group Nationals.

Not that this changes anything, but suddenly I'm feeling like oh $hit maybe I should have been working harder or running further or just giving the prep a bit more of the respect it deserved!

So I'm wrapping my head around the vision of a slightly different experience for the coming weekend!!

LOL. I am preparing to be humbled!

Coach Jim of course has just the right words to give me the proper perspective: "Just go run, ride and run like you enjoy doing…and then you can look at the results once you are done. I’m excited that you are healthy and enjoying your training and hopefully looking forward to racing again!"

Yes! I am looking forward to running and riding on closed courses and seeing what I can do at this point. It's still very early in the season and it's fun to feel my strength and fitness building back again.

My goal through the efforts of this race are to find FLOW, and as always, to stay positive!!

Run-Bike-Run, here I come!